In an earlier post I defined the Fake Authentic Experience (FAE), how corporate squirrels and the big mommy government squirrels are trying to keep us from having a vivid, dangerous, fun and real life. Anything that might be interesting or cool is homogenized for your protection and mass consumption. This has been going on long enough now that it’s had a profound effect on younger generations. Real life is so scary and intense for them that they need to filter everything through electronics. What a fucking mess.
For old people like me there was power, truth, and joy to be found in live music. We flocked to concerts and filled ourselves with various pharmaceuticals in order to intensify the experience. I think I may have seen God once at a Bob Marley concert. I know I saw Satan at the Mudd Club in 1982. Over the past couple years I’ve started going to concerts again. Springsteen, Kenny Chesney, David Alan Coe, etc. I was appalled at what I saw in the audience. Everybody under the age of 30 was either on the phone or watching the performance through their digital camera. For the entire fucking show! I think the experiences was too real for them. They needed to filter it electronically in order to make it palatable. Had they ever seen the Ramones or Black Flag the experience might have killed them. They were turning the concert into a FAE all by themselves.
In a way this makes a lot of sense. Much of their life is filtered through the screen of electronic screens. Music is packaged as videos. Theater is always TV and movies. Friendship is based on texts and Facebook pictures. Life has become ‘virtual’ and ‘virtual reality’ has become the biggest FAE. I know I sound like a cranky old man, but I’m right.
The most obvious example of this is video games. I hate video games because they are by definition FAEs. Why play football or baseball when we can play on the tv instead. Fake tennis, golf, musical instruments, the list is endless. If you can do it in the real world, you can do it in the fake one. There are even games that pretend to be a real world. Why go get laid when you can just have your fucking avatar do it? Really? Pathetic. And don’t get me started on the violence. Everyone gets to be a virtual bully and kill something. Try growing some balls and dealing with real people who’d fight back. Or maybe try empathy and care for things rather than kill them. It makes me sick.
The effects of living this FAE life are profound. By making everything safe and filtered they suck any real joy or fun out of your existence. They make you stupid, lazy, and easily controlled. They also blur the moral lines in your brain. If you spend all day killing things on your computer it can’t help but make you less a caring person. It also allows you to be rude and inconsiderate. ‘Virtual’ people will say things in a text or email that they would never say to real person. We all become less civilized and connected. In “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting” Milan Kundera says that he believes that movies have made love feel trite because every wonderfully romantic moment has been seen before, robbing it if it’s uniqueness. If this is true, FAEs are robbing us of the rest of the world. I’m not saying get rid of your computer. They’re wonderful tools. But make sure to guard your real life before the squirrels make you a ‘virtual person’. And put down the fucking camera and enjoy the moment instead. Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.
– Archbishop Angus